Paying it Forward

We first met Zach as a Sophomore in 2008; he was one of the six GCE students at the time. As a Sophomore, Zach was opinionated, determined, and challenging. During his time at GCE, he challenged us as an organization and held us accountable as his teachers and mentors. As one of our first students, we consider Zach a pioneer; without his feedback and the support of his family, we would not have grown as we have. Since graduating from Suffolk University last Spring, Zach Silver has been an integral part of the GCE community. He has donated his time to mentor GCE students in the classroom and on the basketball court.

We are grateful for his commitment and enthusiasm this year and we couldn’t be more proud of the thoughtful, ambitious, and humble person he has become.

Pye GCEs the World

Henry Pye, a GCE graduate from the class of 2013 talked to us about life after high school. In 2009, we met Henry in a basement of an old mansion on the Northside of Chicago. He was quiet, skeptical, and resistant. But over time, Henry would become the captain of the basketball team, the older brother of the underclassmen, the mentor of new students, and the beloved class clown. By the time he graduated in 2013, he was known as the poster child of GCE. This Spring, Henry graduated from UIC’s Urban Studies Program and is now in the early stages of starting a non-profit. We couldn’t be more proud to recognize such an outstanding citizen as a GCE graduate.

Field Experience

Circuit Training @ Robot City Workshop

The Juniors in the Urban Planning class have been pursuing the guiding question, how do you design a shared space to minimize the use of resources & maximize the quality of life?. In the second unit of this STEAM course, students are investigating the concept of power and examining how to efficiently power a city. Students are learning about the fundamentals of magnets, static electricity, current electricity, circuits, voltage, amps, and resistance. As a part of their investigation, students visited Robot City Workshop to take a closer look at how to build circuits on a breadboard. Each student was given a breadboard kit and a simple robot.

It’s Yearbook Time!

The 2016-2017 GCE Yearbook has just been sent off to the presses and we can’t wait to share them with our community. We made a lot of memories this year and our yearbook is a great way to celebrate each student’s contributions. We are proud to provide every GCE student with a yearbook at no cost. We believe that each student has earned a yearbook to share with their families.

Please consider making a donation to our Yearbook Fund. Your contribution helps to put a yearbook in every student’s hands.

Photo Gallery

It’s All About the Truss

During the first Unit of the Urban Planning course, Juniors investigated the elements necessary to build a strong bridge. The engineers studied examples of bridges in order to understand the concepts of weight and force, tension and compression, and trusses. Equipped with their newfound knowledge, lots of glue, and 60 popsicle sticks, they set out to build a strong, functioning bridge. After days of hard work, the bridges were put to the test with a set of weights. We were blown away by the results.

Field Experience

Urban Farming @ Chicago Patchwork Farms

The Freshmen in the Food class have been pursuing the guiding question, what does a balanced ecosystem look like?. In the first External investigation of this STEAM course, students are investigating the types of organisms and the interactions between those organisms that are necessary in order to sustain a healthy ecosystem. As a part of this investigation, students are studying the importance of companion plants especially when sustaining a farm in a limited amount of space. To gain more insight into how farmers make the most of their space, the students visited Chicago Patchwork Farms, an urban farm in Humboldt Park. At the farm, the students learned more about the make-up of soil, worked with their hands, and even met a couple of cute farm dogs.


The purpose of this Field Experience is for the students to see an urban farm and to learn about what it takes to sustain one.


The students will tour the space, ask questions, and do some actual work to learn firsthand about farming.